US General Says Arming, Aiding Syria Kurds Should Continue After Pullout

Says fighters may need 'different type' of aid after ISIS territory falls

During an interview with Reuters, US Central Command leader Gen. Joseph Votel says that even after US forces withdraw from Syria, he believes US interests are served by continuing to arm the Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) fighters.

Gen. Votel suggested that the US would continue to see the SDF fighting against ISIS across Syria, and that this will continue to be true even after the “last” ISIS villages fall to an SDF offensive.

After that, ISIS becomes a more dispersed insurgency, and Gen. Votel says that the sort of arms and aid the US would be providing would likely need to change, to help them adapt to the new conflict.

This is likely not to sit well with Turkey, as they are planning to invade Syrian Kurdistan in the wake of the US pullout. The US had long promised to disarm the Kurds after the war, and even if they have already suggested that’s probably impossible, Turkey doubtless will be unhappy if the US keeps shipping in arms that will be used against them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.